Vol State Police have quiet 2018

By Jim Hayes

The Volunteer State Community College Police Department had a very quiet 2018 according to the department’s 2019 Annual Security Report (ASR).

The ASR is a federally mandated report submitted to the federal government each year detailing the number of 20 specific crimes which occurred on college campuses.

The four Vol State campuses were nearly crime free in 2018 according to the report. Just seven incidents, all on the Gallatin campus, made this year’s report.

By comparison, last year, the Vol State Police Department reported 14 incidents in 2017, 10 on the Gallatin campus and four on the Livingston campus.

Most of this year’s offenses (five) occurred on the public property surrounding the Gallatin campus. The other two were on the campus itself.

Of the five off campus incidents, four were drug arrests and one was the theft of a vehicle. The two on-campus arrests were for drug law violations.

The ASR is issued each year to comply with the Clery Act which requires college campuses to publish their crime policy and statistics.

Under the act, campuses must disclose crime statistics, issue campus alerts to inform the campus community about issues which may impact their health or safety.

It also requires that programs and campaigns to promote awareness of dating and domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Those programs focus on prevention and awareness.

The ASR also contains information regarding procedures victims of dating or domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault should follow.

Institutional disciplinary procedures for those committing those crimes are also part of the report.

In addition to the SAR, the campus must submit crime statistics to the U.S. Department of Education.

The department must also publish a daily crime log of alleged criminal incidents which is open to public inspection.

The Clery Act was enacted in response to the rape and murder of 19-year-old Lehigh University student Jeanne Clery in 1986.

Clery’s parents believed that, had she known about violent crimes in the area, she would have been more cautious.

According to the SAR, only four percent of colleges and universities reported campus crime to the FBI before the law was enacted.

Newspapers defend freedoms which define US

By Jim Zachary

Newspapers protect your First Amendment rights

With just 45 words the founders guaranteed five — no six — basic freedoms, fundamental American rights.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, was ratified to protect freedom, to ensure liberty and to define the Republic.

These fundamental rights of freedom declare what it means to be an American.

As Americans, we are guaranteed:

— The right to freely practice religion — The right to exercise the freedom of speech — The right of a free press — The right to peaceably assemble in protest — The right to petition the government for a redress of grievances — And the sixth — implied — right: The right to know, viz. the freedom of information.

It stands to reason that if the press is free to hold government accountable, if all people are free to openly express their opinions about government, to assemble in protest of government and to petition the government for grievances against it, that we also have a fundamental right to always know what government is up to.

Newspapers have a long and important legacy protecting the public’s right to know.

In that way, newspapers have always mattered.

The work newspapers do in communities has always been important.

However newspapers have never mattered more or been more important.

In 1841, Thomas Carlyle wrote about the power of the press, conjuring the words of Edmond Burke: “Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.”

Burke may have been chiding the press for its sense of itself, but Carlyle used his words to write about the importance of newspapers to democracy.

In an often-quoted letter to Edward Carrington, Thomas Jefferson wrote that if he were to have to choose between “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Democracy is best served when the newspaper provides checks and balances as the Fourth Estate of government. Newspapers are not the enemy of government — rather they are the champions of ordinary men and women.

Newspapers are the most powerful advocate the public can have and for that reason should always provide an open forum for a redress of grievances and public expression.

Newspapers hold government accountable because at our very core we believe that government belongs to the governed and not to the governing.

If newspapers do not stand up for the public, protect the rights of free speech and the rights of access to government, then no one will.

The provisions of the First Amendment do not exist to protect the press. Rather, the press exists to help protect those freedoms.

Far from being the enemy of the people, the province of a free and unfettered press is to help keep government in check and to defend the public against any assault on the five — no six — basic American rights of freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.

CNHI Deputy National Editor Jim Zachary is CNHI’s regional editor for its Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas newspapers and editor of the Valdosta (Ga.) Daily Times. He is the vice-president of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation. He can be reached at jzachary@cnhi.com

This is one gold star you don’t want

By Jim Hayes

Typically, this space is reserved for commentary about items which it is thought will resonate with Volunteer State Community College students.

Not so, this week. This week we will attempt to reach an audience that likely includes some of our students, but this message is more likely to connect with Vol State’s faculty and staff.

Yesterday was Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day.

It is a day set aside to remember the families who will never again see their sons or daughters who died in service of this country.

The gold star has been around for a long time.

In 1918, the Woman’s Committee of National Defense suggested to President Woodrow Wilson that the mothers of soldiers killed in World War I be allowed to wear a black armband upon which was embroidered a gold star.

In 1936, the United States Congress officially designated the last Sunday in September as “Gold Star Mother’s Day.” President Barrack Obama expanded the gold star designation to include all family members in 2009.

But somehow, its commemoration has fallen through the cracks. Perhaps the American people feel that paying their respects on Memorial and Veterans Days is enough (although, those days are more often marked with cookouts and pool parties rather than commemorations of those who served this country).

However, the Gold Star mothers and their families are still here and still grieving.

Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving dinners are still celebrated. But there will always be the feeling that something is missing. Each birthday passes, but there is no longer anyone to bake a cake for, or to hug and congratulate for making it through another year.

This has to be a special kind of torture. One borne silently. The missing family member unacknowledged yet never forgotten.

It is a familial sacrifice, yet one that barely registers on anyone’s radar.

Well, for the record, it made a big blip on ours.

You have our condolences, our sympathy and, if needed, our shoulder to cry on.

Your son or daughter made their sacrifice and yours will go on for the rest of your life.

Nothing will ever replace that empty spot at holidays and birthdays, but know that you will always have our ungarnished gratitude.

Gallatin expects to complete crosswalk by early March

By Jim Hayes
Crosswalks at the intersections of Gallatin Pike and The Gap Blvd., and at the main entrance to Volunteer State Community College will be completed by late February or early March according
to City of Gallatin Assistant City Engineer Dwayne Rogers.
“We sent out a bid for advertisement this past Thursday (Sept. 5), said Rogers. “That bid is scheduled to be opened and read at 2:30 p.m., Sept. 27.”
Rogers said the bid included both the installation of electronic pedestrian crossing signals and painting the crosswalks. Once the bids are opened, there are some administrative procedures to
ensure everything looks appropriate before the bid is awarded to the low bidder, he said.
Once the bid is awarded, “we do the reviews, they (the contractors) have to send in performance surety that our attorney has to review, so we’re looking at another three to four weeks for that,”
said Rogers.
Given that timeline, the earliest work could start would be around the end of October. Rogers said that the contract specifies that the work is to be done within 120 working days leading to a
completion date around the end of February or early March.
The project to install the crosswalks started in August 2015, according to an email from Vol State Senior Director of Plant Operations Will Newman. “Vol State made our first appearance before
city council in December 2017 to request PEDEX walkways at the two intersections and a sidewalk on Gap Blvd.,” said the email.
Last March, the electrical, drainage, grading and sidewalk work along Gap Blvd. was completed by the City of Gallatin. In April, the college provided and installed the lights, the email
continued.
The city informed Vol State that pedestrian crosswalk design was complete in June 2019 and the bid package was submitted to the city finance department in August, said Newman’s email.
“This has been entirely a City of Gallatin project,” he said.
Rogers said that the bid includes “everything to complete the project.”
“That includes installing the signals, all the required electrical, all of the pavement markings required in order to complete the project,” he said.

First baseman Bill Hamilton commits to MTSU

By: Nate Kaly 

The Volunteer State Community College Pioneers first-basemen Bill Hamilton committed to Middle Tennessee State University on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

Photo of Bill Hamilton taken by Jacob McKaig

Photo of Bill Hamilton taken by Jacob McKaig

While Hamilton, who is a sophomore at Vol State this year, had offers from several schools, he knew he would be going to MTSU after he visited the facility last weekend.

“The big reason I chose MTSU is the coaches. I went on my visit Sunday (Sept. 16) and they made me feel right at home when I was there. All really cool guys. They were all just hired and ready to get off to a good start,” said Hamilton.

Although Jim Tomen just took over as MTSUs baseball coach in June, he already has a plan in place to use Hamilton in his system.

“I was able to meet new head coach Tomen on Sunday. We went over how I would fit in with the team and the different areas that he wanted to use me on the field,” said Hamilton.

Because Hamilton’s numbers from the 2018 spring season at Vol State didn’t jump out of the box (.357 AVG. 5 HR. 30 RBI. 25 runs), he knows that there is still a learning curve to go through this season before taking the next step at a division one school.

“The biggest thing for me is to take the next step and have a breakout season. Also probably to see leadership improve. Just talking to the younger guys and always making sure that they know exactly what to do and lead by example,” said Hamilton.

When asked what kind of player MTSU will be getting next year, Hamilton said, “Hard-working.”

“Bill is very deserving of that. You see a big-time prospect by the way he looks. He’s been hungry since he got here, and he’s proved people wrong. MTSU is getting in my opinion, a big-time player,” said head coach Ryan Hunt.

This season Hamilton will try to improve a Pioneers offense that hit the third-fewest runs (278), third-fewest home runs (25) and second fewest RBIs (217) in the conference last season.

Although the fall season consists of expedition games and games that don’t count against the team’s record like the spring season does, it will be an opportunity for the Pioneers offense and Hamilton to work out any wrinkles that they might have, to reach their full potential as an offense in the spring.